Conflict & Justice

Tunisia declares curfew after Salafist Muslims riot to protest 'God' artwork


Demonstratros clash with police in Intilaka, outside Tunis, on June 12, 2012.



Tunisian authorities declared a curfew after thousands of ultraconservative Salafist Muslims reportedly rioted in the capital Tuesday over an art exhibition they claimed posed an "insult" to Islam.

According to Israel National News, the exhibition in an upscale Tunis neighborhood included a work that spelled out the name of God using insects.

The 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew was announced by the Interior Ministry and the Defense Ministry "in the wake of violence carried out by criminal groups against establishments of sovereignty and public and private property," CNN cited a prime minister's statement as saying.

Seven areas other than the capital are reportedly affected.

Reuters wrote that protesters "threw rocks and gasoline bombs at police stations, a courthouse and the offices of secular parties in some of the country’s worst clashes since a revolt ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali last year."

Ben Ali was replaced by a moderate Islamist government.

Earlier in the day, Tunisian police had fired warning shots in three Tunis neighborhoods to disperse protesters after they set a security post alight. The Interior Ministry said 162 people had been detained.

The Associated Press cited ministry spokeswoman Ridha Kazdalli as saying on national TV that the curfew would be lifted "as soon as the situation improves."

More from GlobalPost: More self-immolations as anniversary of Tunisian dictator's overthrow nears